Ask Your Preacher
The Bible speaks of a ‘Mystery Babylon’ in the book of Revelation. God says to "Come out of her my people lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues." Several people believe that this refers to America and that christians should flee. One verse says that Babylon will be destroyed and the "light of her lamp" will shine no more. Some believe this is in reference to the Statue of Liberty. I've watched videos, researched websites and government documents, etc. and have to agree that it is compelling, though I don't want to be one of those that are deceived either way. Should christians flee at this time? If so, where should they go?
Fight Or Flight
Dear Fight Or Flight,
America has definitely made some very immoral choices in the last several decades, but no matter how bad it gets – America isn’t Babylon. The book of Revelation deals with events that the apostle John said would, “shortly come to pass” (Rev 1:1, Rev 1:3). The book of Revelation is an account of trials that the first century church was about to face at the hands of Rome. It is a book of prophecy that applied almost exclusively (except for the last two chapters) to the brethren of the first century. See the posts “Left Behind” and “I Was Told There’d Be Dragons…” for more details.
The mysterious Babylon of Revelation is, in fact, Rome. We could spend a very long time explaining this topic, but here are a few of the biggest reasons why Rome is Babylon.
- Rome fit the time period of the book. John was writing to christians that needed to prepare for a great persecution from a world power. The world power of their day was Rome.
- Peter referred to the city of Rome as Babylon in 1 Pet 5:13. Almost all commentators agree that Peter is referring to Rome. Babylon was a well-known term used by christians to refer to the city of Rome.
- Babylon was a city that had killed prophets, apostles, and saints (Rev 18:20-21, Rev 18:24). Apostles only existed in the first century, therefore Babylon must be either Rome or possibly Jerusalem… but definitely not modern America.
This is only a short list of the reasons that Babylon is Rome and not any modern city or nation. The list is short for sake of brevity, not for lack of further evidence. Suffice it to say, America is never mentioned in the book of Revelation. There may be a time when christians need to leave this country… but you won’t find that time specifically laid out in your Bible.
5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year
5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year
My parents and I have a question about how to honor my deceased grandpas. We would appreciate it if you could please help give us some guidance on this.
I was raised in a non-christian family in China. One of my grandpa's ashes is kept in a Taoist temple where all the Taoist gods are worshiped. My other grandpa has a picture at a Buddhist temple where the monks pray regularly. My parents and I accepted Jesus Christ a few years ago, but our grandpas' ashes and picture are still at the temples.
We are unsure how to continue to show respect and honor my grandpas without violating God's commandments. In America, it is typical that the deceased have a grave, and the loved ones go there to present flowers to honor the dead. However, in my case, I cannot go to where my grandpa's ashes are to honor him without entering the Taoist temple full of idols and false gods. What should I do? Can I go, ignore the other gods, but just put flowers there for my grandpa? Should I not go at all?
We cannot move his ashes elsewhere either because my grandma (who is still alive) and all my other relatives are still not christians. In addition, the spot for his ashes at the temple cost a lot of money when they purchased it. They are not going to agree to relocating my grandpa's ashes simply because of my belief and my mother's. Both of my grandpas never heard the Gospel in their lives. They died never knowing Jesus. What shall we do now to honor them? Thanks in advance for your guidance.
Dear Temple Trouble,
Every culture and country has unique issues that it presents christians with, but there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl 1:9). Your problem is with appearances. You know that the Buddhist and Tao gods are nothing at all (1 Cor 8:4). You know this, but everyone else doesn’t, and therefore, for the sake of their consciences, you must be careful how you act (1 Cor 8:10). Here are some things to consider:
- Do people assume if you go to a Taoist temple that you are going to worship their gods? If so, you cannot go. Leave flowers outside the temple or give them to relatives to deliver when they visit, but make it clear that you cannot be seen as an idolater.
- There are some religious sites that don’t give the impression that all visitors are of that religion. For example, take the Sistine Chapel – millions of people visit the site every year, and many of them are not Catholic at all. Visiting there does not give the impression you are Catholic; it merely gives the impression that you wanted to see the Sistine Chapel and its art. If this is the case with visiting these temples, you may be able to go without giving the impression that you are worshipping their idols. Only you can make this decision. It is a cultural issue, and you must decide how people would view your visit.
- Can you in good conscience visit your grandfathers’ memorials? If we cannot do something in good conscience, for us it is sin (Rom 14:23). A bothered conscience is a sign that you believe you are doing the wrong thing, and even if that isn’t true – you have to abstain for conscience’s sake.
- There are many ways to honor our deceased relatives other than visiting their graves. Putting their photos on our walls, writing memorials, re-telling stories of their lives, etc. are all viable ways of showing how much they meant to you. When someone dies, they are no longer concerned with the affairs of this world; anything you do to honor them is for the benefit of the living, not them.
After considering both your conscience and the influence you have upon others, prayerfully make a decision and stick to your guns. In the end, you serve God and not man (Acts 5:29).
I have a question that I get a lot of different answers on. I will admit I am a little scared to even ask this question because I think I may have committed this sin. I have been told that it is never too late to be saved; however, some people say that is not true due to a sin called "the unforgivable sin". I will admit I do not understand 100% what this means. I think it may be if you die without Jesus, then you will be in trouble. However, I am not sure what this means. Please help me understand this so I am not scared or wondering if I have ever committed this sin. Thank you for your time and God bless!
Fear of Failure
Dear Fear of Failure,
The unforgivable sin is the sin against the Holy Spirit, and the fact that you are visiting this website is a pretty sure sign that you haven’t committed it. Jesus says that any sin will be forgiven except for someone blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mk 3:28-30). Jesus said this to the crowd that accused Him of casting out demons by the power of Satan (Mk 3:23). That crowd could have been forgiven of any sin, but instead they rejected the miracles that testified that Jesus was from God. Contrast that crowd’s attitude with Nicodemus’ attitude. Nicodemus understood that the only way that someone could perform a miracle was if God was with him (Jhn 3:2). When that crowd rejected the evidence that the Holy Spirit provided (in this case, the miracles), they rejected any chance to receive the forgiveness found in Jesus’ teachings. When we reject the truth of God (the Bible), we reject the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit’s primary job is to bring the truth of the gospel to mankind (see the post “What the Holy Spirit Does” for more details). Someone blasphemes the Holy Spirit by rejecting the truth that the Holy Spirit sent us in the Bible. Any sin can be forgiven if we will turn to God’s Word and obey it (Rom 10:17, Heb 5:9), but there is absolutely no hope for someone if he or she will not accept the Holy Spirit’s Bible.
Therefore, since it seems that you are actively seeking the truth and trying to study and learn what God’s Word is – you have not committed the unforgivable sin.